Which version of the Bible should I use?

By Josh Winslett

For English speaking people, my preference and strong conviction is the King James (Authorized) Version.

Here are some reasons why:

  • Because it is a translation and not paraphrased. One of the today’s most popular versions, the NIV, is 10% paraphrased. In other words, 10% are in mans words and not Gods.
  • There is strong evidence indicating the superiority of its base manuscripts. The KJV is translated from two sources: the Textus receptus and the masoretic text. Although they were not the original copies they are the most trusted documents from the original languages. Of all the copies of these manuscripts that have been found, there have been very few (if any) contradictions. The manuscripts that other versions use have multiple errors and contradictions (see below).
  • There is strong evidence indicating the superior scholarship of its translators. There were 54 scholars that set out to translate the KJV. It took them from 1604 to 1611 to complete the work charged to them by the king. Those 54 scholars broke up into 6 groups. The different committees worked on certain books separately and the drafts produced by each committee were then compared and revised for harmony with each other. Many times when translating from a different language conjunction or connecting phrases have to be added to make a complete sentence. Anytime the KJV translators had to add a word to complete a sentence, they put the word in italics.
  • Most of the translations before the KJV were also translated from the same Greek and Hebrew texts (OT: Masoretic Text, NT: Textus Receptus). The former English translations compared for translating purposes were; the Great Bible, Geneva Bible, Matthew’s Bible, Coverdale Bible, and the Tyndale Bible. Most modern versions do not come from the same texts that the KJV came from. Most modern versions come from texts translated from men named Westcott and Hort.

To keep from just rewriting what other men have written, I am going to quote from the works of other authors.

You might ask who are Westcott and Hort; here is a small bio:

“QUESTION: Who were Westcott and Hort?
ANSWER: Two unsaved Bible critics.
EXPLANATION: Brook Foss Westcott (1825-1903) and Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892) were two non-Christian Anglican ministers. Fully steeped in the Alexandrian philosophy that “there is no perfect Bible”, they had a vicious distaste for the King James Bible and its Antiochian Greek text, the Textus Receptus. [The infidelity of Westcott and Hort is well documented in this author’s work entitled An Understandable History of the Bible, 1987, Bible Believer’s Press, P.O. Box 1249, Pottstown, PA. 19464]

It cannot be said that they believed that one could attain Heaven by either works or faith, since both believed that Heaven existed only in the mind of man.

Westcott believed in and attempted to practice a form of Communism whose ultimate goal was communal living on college campus’s which he called a “coenobium. ”

Both believed it possible to communicate with the dead and made many attempts to do just that through a society which they organized and entitled “The Ghostly Guild.”
Westcott accepted and promoted prayers for the dead. Both were admirers of Mary (Westcott going so far as to call his wife Sarah, “Mary”),and Hort was an admirer and proponent of Darwin and his theory of evolution.

It is obvious to even a casual observer why they were well equipped to guide the Revision Committee of 1871-1881 away from God’s Antiochian text and into the spell of Alexandria.

They had compiled their own Greek text from Alexandrian manuscripts, which, though unpublished and inferior to the Textus Receptus, they secreted little by little to the Revision Committee. The result being a totally new Alexandrian English Bible instead of a “revision” of the Authorized Version as it was claimed to be.

It has only been in recent years that scholars have examined their unbalanced theories concerning manuscript history and admitted that their agreements were weak to non-existent.

Sadly, both men died having never known the joy and peace of claiming Jesus Christ as their Saviour.”

Source: http://www.chick.com/reading/books/158/158_44.asp

  • Westcott and Hort did not come around until the late 1800′s. They published “The New Testament in Original Greek” in 1881. They used the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus text. The Vaticanus was found in a Vatican trash can getting ready to be burned. The Sinaiticus was found at the bottom of Mount Sinai. Those texts also contradict each other in different passages. Theses texts are also called the critical text.

More information about Westcott, Hort, and their corrupted text:

”In 1475, a manuscript was logged into the Vatican Library known as Codex Vaticanus. It dates to circa A.D. 350.

In 1844, a second Alexandrian manuscript, called Codex Sinaiticus, was discovered in a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai. This manuscript also dates to about A.D. 350. Many scholars believe that these copies are two of the 50 copies that Emperor Constantine instructed Eusebius to prepare for the new churches he planned to build in Constantinople. Thus , Origen (the Gnostic) influenced Eusebius (his favorite student); Eusebius influenced the Sinainiticus and the Vaticanus manuscripts; and -in turn- every modern version taken from these two manuscripts was corrupted! Neither the Vaticanus nor the Sinaiticus was accepted as a “received” text. Thousands of changes have been noted within their pages by many different scribes throughout history.

In 1853, two men named Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort set out to write a Greek text based on these two Alexandrian texts (Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus). Since these two texts by then disagreed with each other in some 3,036 places in the four Gospel books alone, the two men had to come up with a completely subjective text influenced by their views. Consequently, they wrote an “eclectic” text, meaning they preferentially chose certain portions of scripture from the Vaticanus and other portions of scripture from the Sinaiticus until the produced a rendering the satisfactorily conveyed their personal doctrinal views.

In 1898, a revision of Westcott and Hort’s Greek text was made and called “Nestle’s Greek Text.” The majority of Bible colleges today use the Nestle’s Greek Text although it differs greatly from the Textus Receptus. Despite this fact, the new versions arise from these corrupted texts, while the King James Bible stand alone in its exclusive use of the Textus Receptus and its rejection of the readings from the corrupted texts. Westcott and Hort had an unusual rule of thumb for determining which Greek text to chose when there was a variant reading. They chose the “neutral” approach. Basically, their method entailed choosing to use the variant (the different between the Greek texts) that reflected the least doctrinal bias. Why? Westcott and Hort believed that it was more likely to be God’s servants who corrupted the text rather than Satan’s henchmen!”

From: One Book Stands Alone, pgs 285-286

More Information involving problems with the “Critical Text”.

“There are many problems of omission which characterize this Greek New Testament. Verses and passages which are found in the writings of Church Fathers from around 200 to 300 A.D. are missing in the Alexandrian Text manuscripts which date from around 300 to 400 A.D. In addition, these early readings are found in manuscripts in existence from 500 A.D. onwards. An example of this is Mark 16:9-20: this passage is found in the writings of Irenaeus and Hippolytus in the 2nd century, and is in almost every manuscript of Mark’s Gospel from 500 A.D. onwards. It is missing in two Alexandrian manuscripts, the Sinai and the Vatican.

This is but one of many examples of this problem. There are many words, verses and passages which are omitted from the modern versions but which are found in the Traditional or Byzantine Text of the New Testament, and thus in the Textus Receptus. The Critical Text differs from the Textus Receptus text 5,337 times, according to one calculation. The Vatican manuscript omits 2,877 words in the Gospels; the Sinai manuscript 3,455 words in the Gospels. These problems between the Textus Receptus and the Critical Text are very important to the correct translation and interpretation of the New Testament. Contrary to the contention of supporters of the Critical Text, these omissions do affect doctrine and faith in the Christian life.

Several examples of doctrinal problems caused by the omissions from the Critical Text follow. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

The modern reconstructed Critical Text
omits reference to the Virgin Birth in Luke 2:33
omits reference to the deity of Christ in 1 Timothy 3:16
omits reference to the deity of Christ in Romans 14:10, 12
omits reference to the blood of Christ in Colossians 1:14

In addition, an error is created in the Bible in Mark 1:2; in this passage in the Critical Text Isaiah is made the author of the book of Malachi. In numerous places in the New Testament the name of Jesus is omitted from the Critical Text; seventy times ‘Jesus’ is omitted and twenty-nine times ‘Christ’ is omitted.(1)

Another problem with the modern Critical Text is that the two main manuscripts upon which this text is constructed, the Sinai and the Vatican, disagree between themselves over 3,000 times in the Gospels alone. Thus, the Alexandrian text presents itself as a text type which is characterized in many places by readings which are not common to the manuscripts of their own tradition. The Critical Text is characterized by wording which in the original language is difficult, abrupt or even impossible. It appears that no matter how peculiar or aberrant the variant reading is, it must have been in the original autographs because (as is sometimes claimed) a scribe would never make a change which disagrees with other manuscripts; he would, instead, make a change which would make a passage read more smoothly.

Much is said about the Alexandrian manuscripts being very old. This is true, but the emphasis in the study of textual criticism should not be upon how old the manuscript is but upon how many copies removed from the original it is. A manuscript which is dated as having been copied during the 10th century could have been the fifth in a line of copies originating with the original autograph, whilst a manuscript dated as having been copied during the 3rd century could have been the one hundredth in the line of copies. Since it is difficult to tell the genealogy, the family of any given manuscript, it is important to note that age is relative in the sense that you could have a corrupt 3rd century manuscript or a faithful 10th century manuscript.

A good illustration would be to suppose that, in the year 3000, a copy of the English Bible was found which dated from the 1970s. Suppose this Bible happened to be the oldest existing Bible available, and this Bible happened to differ in hundreds of places from the Bible that was in use by Christians in the year 3000. One could well imagine the scientific critics, with their methodology, extolling the virtues of the ancient age of this Bible, the page design showing quality, careful care in the layout and the paper of this particular volume, the binding and so on. But their arguments would tend to fall apart when, after beginning to translate Bibles into modern languages on the basis of this ancient book, Christians discovered that this version of the Scriptures was the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Source: http://www.trinitarianbiblesociety.org/site/articles/grktxt.html

This is not an exhaustive article; there have been books upon books comparing the KJV and other “versions”. This article is only a brief overview. Two good books to read on this subject are “One Book Stands Alone” and “Crowned with Glory.”

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